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A comparative analysis of Shakespeares 'Shall i compare thee' and Donnes 'The Flea'.

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Introduction

In "shall I Compare Thee" Shakespeare is addressing a woman, although it is not clear who, the most likely person is his dark lady. Shakespeare addresses this woman directly in a charming way. The poem is not said to of been set in a particular place but I believe it is more then likely to of have been set in a garden because the things he compares the woman with are found outside. The poem is about Shakespeare trying to explain he deep his love is for this woman. Although I would like to believe that this poem is about platonic love it is my opinion that Shakespeare is trying to ensure a sexual relationship with this woman, because he already has a wife. In "The Flea" the poet addresses the woman directly. The poem, unlike "Shall I Compare Thee" is set inside in a bedroom, which shows just how close they already are to having sex! In "Shall I Compare Thee" the poet's ulterior motive is much more subtle then in "The Flea", in fact in "The Flea" the subject of the poem is about Donne trying to seduce the woman into having sex with him, even thought they are not married and it says that "parents grudge" their relationship. ...read more.

Middle

The attitude of the poet towards the lady in "Shall I Compare Thee" is that the woman is above him and he is swooning after her, it is almost as if she is his god and the love is painful. The attitude of the poet towards the lady in "The Flea" is a lot different from how Shakespeare treats his lady; Donne uses commands and treats her as if she is lower then him. He tries to manipulate her physically then he manipulates her emotionally when she kills the fleas. Even thought Donne is trying to control the woman in "The Flea" we learn she is not a push-over as she defies Donne by killing the flea. The two women have different roles in both poems Shakespeare's woman is a passive image of perfection, and Donne's woman is much more active in the poem. The language in "Shall I Compare Thee" can at some points be quite hard to understand, "more Temperate" means unlike summers weather; either too hot or too cold, she is a perfect temperature. "Darling buds of maie" means the very first vulnerable buds of spring, Shakespeare is trying to saying she is delicate. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rhyme scheme, layout and form of "Shall I Compare Thee" both conform perfectly with the classical Shakespearean sonnet. The rhyme scheme for the three quatrains and couplet is ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG. The metrical form is again true to the traditional love poem formula, with ten syllables to each line, and it also has iambic pentameter. There are only two sentences in the entire poem are facets on just one argument. The rhyme scheme, layout and form of "The Flea" are again non-conformist to the traditional love poem formula; the rhyme scheme for the first stanza is AA/BB/CC/DDD. The poem is laid out in three stanzas to represent each new twist of Donne's syllogistic argument. I believe both of these love poems are enjoyable because "Shall I Compare Thee" is a great example of a technically sound, classical love poem, and "The Flea" on the other hand is a refreshing alternative to the technically sound, classical love poem (With a comical twist). My study of love poetry has changed the way I think about love poetry I don't think love poetry is one specific thing anymore I know there are at least two different variations, and I expect there are many more. ...read more.

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